“Love is gentle as a rose
And love can conquer any war
It’s time to take a stand
Brothers and sisters join hands
We got to let love rule”
-Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule
There are many things that get me fired up that I could write about. And I love to write when I’m angry. It’s more satisfying than punching a wall or screaming at the top of my lungs. Writing is my favorite form of anger management. But sometimes I have the need to tap into my optimistic, idealistic self. The “cumbaya” side of me, the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” side of me. I’m a total sucker for a group sing along, for those moments of camaraderie. We’re all in this together. You’re all my brothers and sisters.
My Utopian World would be a population of people free of anger and shame. A world where everyone looked out for each other, a world that is color blind, gender oblivious, accepting, forgiving. And my manifesto would be the album “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz.
It was 1989, I was a Sophomore in high school. My best friend handed me a cassette tape he’d made for me, a copy of the debut album by a new singer. I went home, popped it into my stereo and sat frozen as I soaked up every sound, every word. I was transfixed. I was in love.
This album spoke to me like no other had. For me, this was the album that signified everything I believed and felt and wanted. This was THE album of my generation that spoke for social change, a new world view. I felt like Lenny was speaking to me, for me. I wore that tape out. My friend and I would ride around for hours in his car, driving down winding country roads, blasting Lenny. Sometimes pulling over to listen to a particular song and just absorb it.
Let love rule. A simple premise. Let your actions be guided by love. Let your thoughts be influenced by love. It’s so simple. But it’s so hard.
Here’s what I don’t get. We all want the same things. We may go about it different ways, but we all want basically the same things in this life. Who doesn’t want to be loved. Accepted. Included. Safe. Secure. Comfortable. At peace. So why do we do things to each other… hurt each other? Judge each other? Condemn each other? Shame each other?
It’s not a game of whoever ends up with the most marbles wins. It’s a quest for happiness.
Think of the things that made you angry today. The people you’ve argued with this week. Were these issues relevant to getting you where to you want to be? Or were they born of hurt and anger? Back against the wall? Pushed into a corner? We can always choose to step aside. Break the momentum of an argument.
Dear lord, I’m not preaching here –did I just say dear lord? I can bask in negativity. Anger. Irritation. But it sucks. I don’t feel better. None of that makes you feel good. It feeds on itself. It only produces more. More anger, judgement. More crap. Aren’t we all sick of the crap? I know I’m tired of it.
There’s a perverse joy in reading about a starlet’s divorce. There’s the satisfaction of you’re no better than us. Life can suck for you too. Theres’s the satisfaction of the wealthy neighbor who files for bankruptcy. You know, the one who would flaunt all his expensive “toys” and walks around barrel chested and smug. Ha. You’re broke too, asshole. But where does this all get us? It doesn’t make us any happier.
There’s the fleeting glee of righteousness, but it’s quickly followed by a hollow feeling. The voices echo and bounce around inside of us if we don’t fill it up with other crap. And so continues the cycle.
“In this garden
They’ll be no war
No racial prejudice
You’ll be my brother
Of any color
You’ll just be okay with us
We’ll live each day in peace
In hope that we will one day reach
The rest of the world
When they are ready to be teached”
-Lenny Kravitz, I Build This Garden For Us
There are no “others.” We’re not all that different. Some of us look different, sound different. Some of us walk different and talk different. Love different. Who cares. Deep down, we all want the same things. These differences are just superficial. They add interest to life, they keep the canvas from being bland. But that’s about it.
Why does it matter to anyone if someone practices a different religion or no religion? Why does it matter to anyone if someone wants to marry someone of the same gender? Why does it matter if someone is living their life in a way that is different from you? Let’s keep it simple. If they are not hurting others, who cares?
If a teacher wants to have a ring through their nose and purple hair… why should that matter? If a boy wants to carry a My Little Pony backpack… why does that matter? If a girl wants to wear her hair short and dress masculine… who cares? I have yet to hear any valid reason why we should care about how someone looks or acts or who they love.
I have heard many arguments, but none of them seem to actually answer the question. The are based on hypotheticals (“If people do this, then…”). Why does anyone care? Why can’t everyone just be o.k. with everyone else?
I want to go back to 1989. I want to ride in that little run down Honda and listen to the strains of hope. I want to think that a world like that is possible. I don’t want to be jaded and bitter. I want to look around and see you, my brother. And you, my sister. I want to want what’s best for you. Because what’s best for you doesn’t take away from what I’ve got. I want to feel joy for every good thing. I want to have patience and peace. I want to look around me and see people thriving because that means we’re all doing something right.
“But the only way for you to survive
Is to open your heart it will guide
You wanna stay in this world of music and life
You got to turn around and spread a little love and get high”
-Lenny Kravitz, Sitting On Top of the World